#1214. Carbunanza in Provence

By pascaljappy | Travel Photography

Jun 27

Dozens of American muscle cars in a rural village of Provence? I had to grab my best camera.

Police and thieves in the street

Being a dumb dumb, I, of crouse, forgot it at home, and had to make do with my slightly ancient smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy S9.

But seeing this riot of colours and shapes makes me feel this little shoot wasn’t about about dynamic range or resolution, it was about brash colorful fun, and being as inconspicuous as possible to get really up close and personal with the wonderful monstrosities on display.

This, above, is about the most exotic automotive thing we get on a day-to-day basis, in this neck of the woods. Occasionally, a jackymobile might appear from Ze hood, Provence-style. But the throaty sound of burbling V8s rarely echoes in these climes.


So, the American part of the show really drew the crowds far more than the rest. It made me feel sorry for a couple of poor innocent Ferraris that absolutely noone was taking any notice of ๐Ÿ˜‰

I mean, we don’t get Yam Chips this often around here.

Or General Lee chasing Starsky’s Striped Tomato in the streets ๐Ÿ˜‰ ๐Ÿ˜‰ ๐Ÿ˜‰ (more to come about General Lee on DS this week …)

Or the eyelash beats of sweet Eleanor.

Or even registration plates with painted backgrounds. Non, non, ce n’est pas EE-apprrroved! Verrry bad, houlalaaaa.

So yeah, the wonderfully absurd, the over the top, the huge and pointless drew unexpected crowds throughout a day when everyone got pounded by the sun in an exceptionally blistering summer.


Brrring it, Corvette, I am Ze mighty Meharii, and I fearrr no one!

Every now and then, depending on political swings in both countries, I hear/read American people asking why France doesn’t like the US.

Trust me, even when there is political disagreement between the two at the top of our respective power pyramids, the deep rooted love for Les Yankees is very much alive around here. The ties go way back, and events such as this consolidate them through generations.

If more evidence is required, the bar at the end of this street is called The HonkyTonk and draws weekly hords of bikers on Harley Choppers ๐Ÿ˜‰ Yeah, in sleepy rural Provence.


But back to the cars. I’ve seen 3 DeLoreans in my life. Two of them in my home backwater village, just today. Un.Believable, right? And this owner sure went all the way.

While you might marvel at the madness and craftmanship, I bow to the resilience, commitment and mental strength of the person. When I wanted to carve an innocent window out of the side pannel of a van, it was made quite clear to me that this would require submitting it to a series of administrative procedures that could last 18 months, cost as many Benjamins, and during which the van could be legally undrivable.

So, to make this crazy, sharp-angle, jigsaw-puzzle of a … car? … roadworthy must have required enough mental focus to put a Rimpoche to shame. Kudos, man, and thank you for existing. Tell me your name’s Han Solo, and I’ll believe ya.


Chromatic overload brought another reason for merriment.

In a country (continent?) where some drab shade of gray is the obligaroty livery, design has become more stale than last month’s crisps and automotive enjoyment has become reason enough to be seen as some non woke ecoterrorist, oh man … those reds, greens, blues, yellows, browns … convey so much happiness. I mean, let’s talk serioulsy. Who wants to live in a world of grey when they can have this?????

When did we become sooo boring? This technicolor immersion rejuvinated me like C3PO’s oil baths. I’ve lost 10 years and fully expect my hair to regain much colour some time next week ๐Ÿ˜‰


Anyway, pure joy was had by many people today, thanks to the madness of the designers of those cars, and the unconditionnal ecoterrorist love of those who maintain them in such pristine condition.


Plus, a touch of humour here and there really didn’t hurt ๐Ÿ˜‰

I do. I sure do.

I’m not that big a fan of museums, because they celebrate history, which loses its value if it doesn’t serve to guide the present (and daily life repeatedly shows how much it doesn’t) and long dead people, almost exclusively. Why, oh why, be all extatic only about dudes from 4 centuries ago, when we could, and should be celebrating living artists, curators and collectors, that have far more impact on our culture and lives?

This day, to me, was such a celebration. As much as Jasper Johns, Mark Rothko, Edward Hopper, Ansel Adams, Robert Adams, and many more, do it for me, cars have a more universal pulling power for people of all ages. So, yeah, human beings getting together – in a world that uses every trick to divide – around a common interest/love/passion? A celebration of a spirit of freedom that is today viewed as a cardinal sin? Man, that was fun.

Frunk in France

As for the phone, and considering the light, it acquited itself brilliantly. The photos were edited in Google’s photo app, with a healthy dose of vignette to hide the distracting crowds that show up in the corners, in spite of my best efforts at odd angles, and a preset called Clay. That works well for me, bringing a bit of that vintage look, as well as the big depth of field that’s a refreshing change from my recent foray into razor sharp focus planes ๐Ÿ˜‰ I can’t write it enough: big depth of field forces you to think hard about your composition, it’s a great learning tool.

So, fun cars, fun people, fun photography. Who can ask for more on a Sunday ?


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  • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

    Oh bugga – you’ve beaten me to it! I’ve been accumulating photos of cars, etc in/around this street for a couple of years to do something offbeat like this.

    And now you express an allergy to museums, so I can’t get round it by going to York to snap shots of Briggs’s car museum before it gets disbanded or something. Those cars include a 1901 Clement – the governor of Tasmania’s official car until 1906 and a 1913 Peugeot Bebe that was Bugatti’s first design before he struck out on his own.

    • pascaljappy says:

      Nah, I love visiting museums, really. It’s just a big shame that more space isn’t devoted to people actually changing the world *right now* rather than focusing almost exclusively on those who did so centuries ago.

      Your collection is still very much welcome here ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

      • pascaljappy says:

        BTW, I didn’t know there was a car museum in York. Are they going to take it down??? It would be on my todo list next time we’re in the area (soon I hope).

        • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

          The local community acquired it several years ago. It’s shame the collection’s been broken up – Briggs had some amazing cars in his collection! I think the ones that were at York stayed there and the ones that had been at Fremantle were sold off.

        • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

          Seems I got my wires crossed – I thought Peter kept the York Museum after they shut down his Fremantle one – but apparently he sold the York one to the locals in York, then. Still going.
          Peter owned the MG K3 chassis 3003 which was the first British entry to win the 1100cc class in the Mille Miglia. Later, Nuvolari drove the same car to victory in the IoM TT. It’s famous – Peter exhibited it, I think, at both Pebble Beach and Villa d’Este. I’ve no idea where it is now, though. I’d love to think it’s in the York Museum, but I don’t know.

  • PaulB says:


    Were any of the engines running, or did you stay around until they left the gathering?

    There is nothing like the โ€œBlub . . Blub . . Blubโ€ followed by VROOOM, of a big throaty American V-8.

    Also, using your phone allowed you to be invisible and merge into the crowd. Nicely done.

    Concerning car museums, if you come to Seattle, we have a first rate museum in Tacoma on two campusโ€™ that celebrate the ordinary but cool cars. I will get you there! You will be in Hog Heaven (there is at least one in the collection).


    • pascaljappy says:

      Paul, the show itself was engines out. But cars were coming and going and the general disbandment in the evening could be heard quite clearly from my house, a mile away. Maybe not what the world needs on an everyday basis, but what glorious music on funs days such as this.

      Seattle is definitely in our plans. I’ll be sure to let you know when we make reservations ๐Ÿ™‚


  • Pascal O. says:

    Great set, Pascal. No need for the Hassy, the quality is superb.

    Memories come flowing back, Starsky, Hutch etc. really great.

    One technical question, did you do any post from the original set? I am always curious to know how easy (or not) it is to do post with mobile phone pics(if any was performedโ€ฆ).

    And about the pictures, which is the car that has the slightly aircraft style dashboard (coming after the blue drop top) please?

    Again most enjoyable post, thank you.

    • pascaljappy says:

      Thank you Pascal ๐Ÿ™‚

      All the images, except for Starky’s tomato (I forgot to add PP to that one) went through a Google preset called ‘Clay’. I then added vignetting to most of them and some slight contrast changes. If the images weren’t so slow to load, it would be an extremely fast process.

      Ah, that crazy car is Kitt. David Hasselhoff’s Pontiac Firebird in Knight Rider (K2000 for us Frenchies)

      Cheers ๐Ÿ™‚

  • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

    LOL – being a reformed** petrol head, I’ve just been going through the photos again.
    **[marriage does things like that to you!]

    Love the “Dukes of Hazzard” chariot – it’s driven a fair way, to make it to the show.

    “I do. I sure do.” I think Mrs Pascal Jappy might have a few words to say about that! My collection includes a few signs like that, that people shove on their cars. Some are a bit too risquรฉ to post here, though.

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